Creativity – Left-Right hand bias

Last week, inspired by Lynn who blogs at Tialys, I decided to do some free motion embroidery…

Sheep Knitting Kit Purse
I’ll show you what it turned into when I have time to write a fuller post next week.

I began holding the piece with both hands, but once I got into embroidering the sheeps – there were many – I found myself letting go with my right hand and using my left only. As far as I know I am a right handed person, so why was my left taking over?

You may know I’m absolutely fascinated with the psychology of creativity, so this intrigued me.  Okay I was only scribbling with embroidery thread, and the left/right brain creativity thing has been debunked, but was this:

  1. Because a creative part of my brain was taking over? or
  2. Because I really am left handed, or ambidextrous, and was trained into being right handed?
  • My Mum was left handed, so the potential is there.
  • I learned to write so young, I can’t remember if I was trained out of left handedness. My handwriting is certainly appalling.
  • I have memory have of frequently having dinner ladies swap around my knife and fork and asking what hand I wrote with – which I could never then remember.
  • I’m rubbish at knowing right from left – but then so is my eldest and she was definitely right handed from the start.

or

3. Some other reason?

Any thoughts? Especially from you left handed or ambidextrous types.

 

29 thoughts on “Creativity – Left-Right hand bias

  1. Interesting! I hope, that with a left-handed mom you were not trained out of being left-handed! I have a left-handed mom, and am left-handed, and she was my biggest advocate in school for things like leftie scissors, etc. But as for your switch to leftie, I have no idea. Maybe you are ambidextrous? Funny about the dinner ladies, lol. As for telling right from left, if you hold up your hands, with your thumb sticking out at 90 degrees, your left hand will form an L and your right hand won’t. I have used this trick for years because I simply can’t tell right from left sometimes. My family refers to it as “your OTHER right” when I get it wrong, which I frequently do. 🙂 So the left-right brain thing has been debunked? Sad. I liked thinking I was especially creative, lol.

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    1. I hope not too, and I’ve always assumed not, but if she really suffered as a leftie child – I remember a girl at school always being told off (even in my day) for writing left handed – maybe she did it to help me? Although my Grandmother did a lot of bringing me up, so it could have been her? But again, she didn’t stop my Mum.

      Yes, poor dinner ladies must have been quite amused that I couldn’t remember what hand I wrote with 🙂

      Thanks for the tip, I’ve been told that many times. I actually remember by remembering I have my wedding ring on my left. The problem comes with that more instinctive thing, when you don’t have time or think to work it out – like on my driving test. My husband always switches the second time of telling me when I get it wrong and says something like ‘okay, my left your right’.
      I still think you’re especially creative 😉

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  2. I’m so excited! I’ve inspired somebody 🙂 🙂
    As for the left v right, I’m no help there I’m afraid as I’m resolutely right handed – can’t do a thing with my left (apart from touch type I’ve just realised – as I type).
    Looking forward to seeing where those sheep are going.

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  3. I am strongly right handed and right sided – both my daughters grew up being determinedly left handed, though one is fairly comfortable using her right when necessary, but we put that down to her left being in a sling a couple of times in her childhood so she just swapped as required. I sometimes draw or doodle with my non-dominant so that I am freed up from rigidity. I think the debunking thing will be disproved in time, as that too is just another theory being traded as fact.

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    1. Ah yes, I guess everything is really theory being traded as fact 🙂 Amongst my theories, I do believe that we can all be creative if we allow ourselves to be and the more we are creative the more creative we become. Which leads me to wonder if the whole dominant hand thing is a big red herring on creativity and that many people who are left handed in a right handed world are maybe more creative because they’ve had to be creative about dealing with tools and expectations designed for right handed people. Although that still leaves the question unanswered of why I used my left hand dominantly when I use my right hand for everything else.

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  4. It’s all very interesting. I think there’s just some things we naturally do with one rather than the other. Clicking my fingers for example, is always perfect left handed but rubbish with my right. And I always feel more comfortable with my drink at the dinner table on my left side which is the ‘wrong’ side. I’m right handed by the way.

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  5. Most interesting. But first the sheep are amazing. I need you and Lynne to give me a kick in the butt. I actually bought scary new sewing machine now nearly 5 years old to do free machine embroidery, and haveI? That would be a no.
    My grandad was left handed but forced to use his right. When he had a stroke and could no longer write with the right hand he just wrote left handed with no problem. Both my cousins and brother are left handed and I am the only right handed one in our generation. My eldest son is left handed, middle one is right and youngest interchanged between both. I was advised just to hand him pens, crayons etc to his right hand but not to force it. He is right handed now, but can manage a perfectly good letter with his left. Where he is really lucky is with his typing! He sounds like a machine gun and is very accurate!.
    I suspect you are like him and the reason you went left handed is because with a sewing machine for free machine sewing it would be the logical thing to do.

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    1. I suspect you’re right. It’s the explanation that makes most sense. Mind, i can’t write a perfectly legible letter with either hand!
      Consider yourself kicked in the butt! And also, how’s that zip going? Or maybe you’ve done it – I’m a bit behind with my blog reading.
      PS That machine is exciting not scary 🙂

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      1. No it’s scary!! I have been to a wedding and had a week away. The Zip is scheduled for Tuesday, stand by your beds, as my dad would say!! I am very behind with blog reading, etc etc.

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      2. Not your Son’t wedding – have I missed that?
        😦
        Look forward to hearing how Tuesday goes. My advice (which I appreciate you didn’t ask for, but i’ll still give in the name of supporting you) on both scary machine (not that I’m agreeing it’s scary) and zip is, just look it in the eye and go for it!

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  6. Interesting! Have you ever tried writing with your left hand? I’m definitely right handed, but when I picked up a pencil with my elft (just to see what would happen!) I started writing legibile mirror writing, which I thought was pretty cool

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  7. Mmm… no, the left/right brain thing does exist – read the late Oliver Sacks books (he was a neurologist). This is why people who’ve had left or right brain damage are affected on the opposite side of the body. (Left brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa). That said, it might just be that it’s easier for you to do certain specific things with one hand rather than the other. I am more comfortable using a strainer (to strain veggies out of a saucepan, for instance) with the pan in my left hand and the strainer in my right. But I find pouring a kettle very difficult with my left hand and fine with my right. I’m right handed.
    I did learn to write, to start with, with my left hand and was often ‘corrected’ at school, and I have a small degree of dyslexia and have always had problems reversing things, so I’ve a tendency to use whichever hand ‘feels right’ for something. 🙂

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    1. Hello. thanks for following and for commenting. I think we’re on the same page, the right and left are different and certain areas have usual functions, but different sides of the brain aren’t specifically wired for creativity in us as a species, although they may be on a more individual basis. There’s also the who thing about us being able to ‘re-wire’ our brains that points to it being adaptable. Hope that makes sense. I’m certainly no neurologist. Just interested, so do disagree with me. I too am dyslexic, which I suspect that’s linked?

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  8. I believe a person is born able to use both hands for all the same tasks. Then due to pressure or schooling, etc. one is “trained” to use one hand for certain tasks, and later your brain follows on the “trained” path. I use both hands equally, not for the exact same task, but they both “work” equally, specially when using tech and crafting.
    Very interesting post, and I enjoyed the comments. 🙂

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    1. That’s an interesting point of view and I’ve no doubt conditioning plays a part, but I would say both my children showed a preference for their right hands when they were small babies and certainly not under any influence to use either. Mr Hicks is clearly right pawed too. So I’m sorry, but not sure I can agree everyone is, but maybe some people.

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      1. Awesome to hear. Definitely something I would need to look at more closely when children are still small and developing. And of course, see what Miekie does. 🙂 Would be interesting to watch her closer.
        Now I am of course even more curious. Does a person’s “dominant” hand changes over the years? 🙂 Will be interesting to read up more on this. Thanks for a very interesting topic.

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  9. My mum and grandmother are both left hand where’s I am definitely right BUT because mum was fundamental in teaching me some things I do lots of stuff a bit oddly that will look very left handed just because thats the way she taught me. All my handwritting slopes the wrong way even. Funnily enough everyone was unable to teach me to knit and its taken until the invention of YouTube to teach myself 🙂

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    1. Sounds like you prove there’s definitely a mixture of nature and nurture with the left/right hand thing. My memory of learning to knit is my mum sitting with me working out how to knit right handed, because she was left handed. And I do knit right handed. My mum couldn’t crochet because no one could teach her left handed crochet. Hurrah for youtube! 🙂

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